INXS' Michael Hutchence to Be Subject of New Documentary

Michael Hutchence - Getty - H 2016
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The film about the late lead singer of the Australian band will be directed by Richard Lowenstein and produced by Universal Music Group and Passion Pictures.

Nearly 20 years after this death, charismatic INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence will be the subject of a feature-length documentary produced by Universal Music Group and Passion Pictures.

Australian filmmaker Richard Lowenstein, who worked with the band for many years, including helming the acclaimed music video for “What You Need,” will direct. “I have been working on the definitive documentary film journey into the heart and soul of this complex, shy, poetic and exceptionally charismatic man for many years,” he said in a statement. “To be able to embark on this film now with such great partners as UMG, the U.K.’s Passion Pictures, Ghost Pictures, [longtime INXS manager] Chris [Murphy] and INXS is extremely exciting and I know that together we are going to tell this story like no one else can.”

Hutchence was found dead in a Sydney hotel room in November 1997. His death was ruled a suicide. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, INXS was one of the biggest rock bands in the world, scoring such hits as “The One Thing,” “Original Sin,” “What You Need,” “Need You Tonight” and “Never Tear Us Apart,” propelled by Hutchence’s seductive purr and lithe, magnetic stage presence.

The film is part of UMG’s further expansion into film, TV, theater and live events following its success as co-producer of the Oscar-winning documentary Amy, the 2015 Asif Kapadia-directed film about the life of Amy Winehouse. In January, UMG tapped film producer David Blackman and Broadway producer Scott Landis to oversee development of its film, television and theatrical projects. Among the other projects under the new endeavor is Ron Howard’s Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week, due out in September.

“Michael Hutchence was a musical genius who led one of the world’s biggest bands to global stardom, only to succumb to a tragic end,” Blackman, UMG’s head of film and television development, said Sunday in a statement. “We have assembled an incredible team that is committed to telling Michael’s story and providing the world with a portrait of a man who left behind an enduring musical and cultural legacy.”

John Battsek of Passion Pictures, producers of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, stresses that having the blessing of those close to Hutchence is key. “To know we have access to everyone and everything required to make such a film and the full support of UMG just reaffirms to us all that we can tell this story in the truest and most authentic way possible,” he said.

Among the beneficiaries of the film’s proceeds will be Hutchence’s 20-year-old heir, Tiger Lily, his daughter with the late Paula Yates.

Never Tear Us Apart, an Australian miniseries about the band, with Luke Arnold playing Hutchence, aired in Australia in 2014 and later on Showtime.

CAA will handle North American distribution rights for the new documentary, as well as worldwide deals originating in North America. The film is expected to arrive in theaters at the end of 2017.